via ZBC ghost workers exposed January 4, 2014 NewsDay
THE ongoing vetting of workers at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) has reportedly opened a can of worms after it emerged yesterday that names of deceased and long-departed former staffers, still reflected on the broadcaster’s current payroll.
The verification exercise is being superintended by officials from the Ministry of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services.
ZBC sources told NewsDay yesterday that some of the alleged ghost workers exposed to date included the late political correspondent Douglas Rinomhota who died in 2007, former senior reporter Robert Tapfumaneyi who quit in 2011, ex-news caster Sugar Chagonda and Collin Muduwa who was a technical operator, but left Mbare Studios in 2005 as well as former radio news producer/presenter Perfect Hlongwane, who parted ways with ZBC in July 2012.
Others include a few news reporters (named) who parted ways with ZBC five years ago to venture into public relations.
Although some of the ex-ZBC employees who are reportedly still on the pay roll would not provide details, they confirmed that they had been contacted to verify if they were still employees as their names were still on the corporation’s payroll.
“Tapfumaneyi’s name indicates that he had received advance payments of up to $800 and Rinomhota’s name shows he had received $100 as advance payment just before the Christmas Holiday,” an employee who refused to be named said.
Another ZBC worker, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “Chagonda’s name is on the payroll and so is Muduwa whom we last worked with nearly a decade ago.”
Hlongwane, contacted for comment, said he had heard rumours his name was also appearing on the ZBC payroll.
“I’ve heard rumours to that effect, but I have no way of proving or disapproving it,” he said.
The source attributed the alleged scandal to the shambolic structures at ZBC, saying the salaries department was deliberately not furnished with names of workers who were no longer employees of the organisation.
“There was a management crisis at ZBC which from our viewpoint was deliberate. The human resources department kept records of all workers, but would not forward updates on those who would have left to the salaries department for adjustments,” the source said.
However, ZBC spokesperson Gladman Bandama denied the allegations.
“The first time we heard about it was when we were giving out advance payments. According to us, the only deceased person still on our pay roll is (the late executive producer) Sheila Mahlatini who died in October because the payment due dates back to June last year. However, I am glad that the verification exercise underway will lay to rest all such allegations,” Bandama said.
Bandama again refuted reports that the ZBC human resources department was shambolic.
“Whatever is done in HR (human resources) is copied to finance. The two departments work hand in glove and there is no way the salaries department can’t be aware of what happens in the human resources,” he said.
The salaries department falls under the finance section which was headed by general manager Elliot Kasu, who has since been sent on forced leave by Media, Information and Broadcasting Services minister Jonathan Moyo.
Kasu was suspended alongside CEO Happison Muchechetere, head of finance Ralph Nyambudzi and Muchechetere’s secretary Rita Mangundhla to expedite a forensic audit at the public broadcaster where employees had gone for six months without salaries.
ZBC workers only started receiving their salaries this week following the intervention of Moyo and his deputy Supa Mandiwanzira who reportedly approached government for a bail out.
ZBC workers were owed an estimated $8 million.
Bandama said by yesterday 90% of ZBC employees at Pockets Hill had been paid and the verification process would commence at stations outside Harare today.